Match of the Round
Merewether 2 (Nicki Jones, Rhali Dobson) def. by New Lambton 4 (Lauren Allen 2, Tara Andrews 2)
SUNDAY 10 MARCH, 2.30PM, MYAMBLAH OVAL
New Lambton has been tipped for big things this season and they didn’t disappoint in yesterday’s Herald Women’s Premier League (WPL) season opener against 2018 champions, Merewether United.
After meeting five occasions last season and not winning a single one, New Lambton came out firing, flaunting their newly vamped side.
It was hot conditions for both teams at Myamblah Crescent, however, that didn’t slow down either side.
With a couple of early opportunities for both teams, it was New Lambton who broke the deadlock for the match with Lauren Allen finding the back of the net in the seventh minute.
Luck was not on Merewether’s side early on, with a Lauren Allen cross into the goal hitting the crossbar, rebounding off Alison Logue’s head into the goal.
New Lambton was to find the net once more, with their captain Tara Andrews beating Merewether’s backline taking the score 3-nil.
A freekick for Merewether saw them back in the game with Nicki Jones firing it straight past Imogene Tomasone and Westfield W-League star Rhali Dobson putting in a solo effort running down the left side to beat New Lambton defenders and make the score 3-2 heading into halftime.
Despite Merewether putting in a strong second-half performance, New Lambton were the only ones to score, with Allan linking up nicely with Andrews to find the bottom right corner 75 minutes in.
New Lambton coach Keelan Hamilton says he was happy with his teams’ efforts, after claiming their first ever win over Merewether United.
“I thought we started really well, and our first 25 minutes was really good. We counterattacked well, we defended well,” Hamilton said.
“I thought they had a lot of possession second half but never really created anything. Whilst they had a lot of possession, I thought we defended really well and toughed it out in hot conditions.
“It was a really big team effort to come and beat a team like Merewether who have got a lot of good players.
“Overall it wasn’t our best team performance, but you can’t be disappointed with beating Merewether.”
Despite a disappointing start to the 2019 season, Merewether coach Cassandra Koppen says she’s not too concerned with yesterday’s result.
“I think considering the circumstances we had, I think we did pretty well and to come back from 3-nil to 3-2 and make a game of it,” Koppen said.
“We probably could have at least drawn or taken the lead had we taken our chances at that point, but we had three late withdrawals and someone who does their knee in the first 20 minutes, it’s never really going to be your day.
“Considering the changes we had to make to our starting line-up and the players we had out there, I think we did pretty well.
“I think we underperformed across the whole park, but Emma [Allen] our 14-year-old played 70 minutes in the 20s and then came on after only 10 minutes for us so she would have played close to over 120 minutes today, so she did a monster effort for us.
“They’re [New Lambton] going to be a strong team, but they’re definitely beatable. We’ll just get stronger as the year goes on as we start to work on a few more combinations.”
Football Mid North Coast 0 def. by South Wallsend 5
SUNDAY 10 MARCH, 2.30PM, TAREE ZONE FIELD
Despite the sweltering conditions at Taree Zone Field, South Wallsend proved too good for newcomers Football Mid North Coast (FMNC) winning 5-nil to claim the first points for the competition.
South Wallsend’s key player’s stepped-up to put on a goal frenzy performance and proved they’ll be ones to watch this season.
South Wallsend head coach Cas Wright said she was exceptionally happy with her teams’ efforts in the tough conditions yesterday.
“It was actually our first game together. The only other game we’ve had is a training game so, considering it was the first time the girls had actually played together, yes extremely happy,” Wright said.
“Overall, a team effort, but obviously our standouts were Gemma Harrison, Kirstyn Pearce, Gema Simon, Ashlee Brodigan… they all did well.
“I thought all four grades were extremely strong and they [Football Mid North Coast] all played good football.”
Returning to the Herald WPL competition in 2019, FMNC expected a tough season opener going up against Matildas and Westfield W-League players in the Wolfie’s side.
FMNC coach Mick Grass said yesterday’s result wasn’t ideal but also wasn’t unexpected.
“We came into the competition knowing it was going to be tough and I thought for the first 25 minutes we gave a good chance of our self,” Grass said,
“We’ve just got to get used to the intensity of the competition and probably a fair bit of conditioning under our belts before we’re going to be able to compete for 90 minutes. It became pretty obvious of that today.”
However, Grass singled out midfielder Emma Shipperlee as a standout from his side yesterday.
“She’s [Emma Shipperlee] only 15-years-old but she was a standout and really tried to control the game for us.
“We’ll get there, bit-by-bit. We just need to work on getting our structure right, getting our conditioning right, and we’ll go forth.”
Warners Bay 9 def. Adamstown 1
SUNDAY 10 MARCH, 2.30PM, JOHN STREET OVAL
Warners Bay started the 2019 Herald WPL proving their claim to the top, annihilating Adamstown Rosebud 9-1 at John Street Oval.
Yesterday didn’t prove to be Adamstown’s day, with three girls suffering serve injuries resulting in substitutions within the first half.
Warners Bay proved too strong for the Bud’s, with their key players enjoying a goal-scoring spree in the forward third, resulting in a 6-nil lead at half-time.
Adamstown coach Paul Devitis said Warners Bay were ruthless in attack.
“They [Warners Bay] were up 6-nil at halftime and were way too ruthless in attack and their star players in the front third were just too good,” Devitis said.
“I don’t think the scoreline was really a reflection of the game. But, in saying that, it was a game where we lost three players in the first half to injury.
“So, we had to make three subs at halftime, two of them to go to the hospital with both a serious ankle and serious elbow injury and then one for a concussion.
“But to their credit, in the second half we did not give up one bit and they stayed on the field all 11 and played some pretty good football in the second half which we had a fair few chances, and one reward.
“They [Warners Bay] obviously had a lot of chances and scored off them but that first half, their strike rate of shots to goals was amazing.”
Wallsend 6 def. Thornton 0
SUNDAY 10 MARCH, 2.30PM, THE GARDENS
Hot conditions proved a recurring theme for all teams in round one, however, Wallsend made the most of their chances winning 6-nil to Thornton Redbacks.
It was a big day for Wallsend Club Captain Sophie Phillips, which saw her celebrate 100 senior games for the club.
Head coach for Wallsend, Brad Jones, said he was proud of his squads’ efforts in yesterday’s trying conditions.
“It was pretty hot and tiring conditions. Whilst we’re not the finished product yet, the girls played really well and I was really happy with them,” Jones said.
“I actually think it was a really good team performance. There wasn’t really one player that stood out, they actually gelled and played some good football at times.
“It was just a solid team performance.”
Despite the disappointing scoreline, Thornton head coach Alan Primmer says he was happy with his side’s performance and said they know what they need to improve on to build in the coming weeks.
“They [Wallsend] were definitely the better team but as I said to my girls, I was very happy at halftime. A very well taken free-kick for their [Wallsend] first one and a penalty… that was it 2-nil. But we were in the game and we played some good footy and the girls were happy at halftime,” Primmer said.
“Kirstie Power-Walford who was only 16, Jasmyn Hughes who was only 16 and Lauren Faulkner who’s only 17, they all kick-off in our 14’s four years ago and now they’re playing first grade, so that’s basically a representation of our club.
“They all played really, really well. Probably a special mention to Anais Moore the captain.
“I thought she really stood-up in the second half and things really could have gotten uglier, but she let the Wallsend girls know we weren’t going to layover and I think the girls really lifted with that.”